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Royal Victoria Hospital

Mr. Maginnis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what factors underlay the delays in treatment at the orthopaedics unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital in December; and what was the average time taken to treat patients with fractures (a) on 21 December and (b) on 11 January. [65950]

Mr. McFall [holding answer 18 January 1999]: The recent upsurge in the number of fracture patients treated at the Royal Victoria Hospital must be seen in the context of a 100 per cent. increase in the fractures treated in the 2 central Belfast Hospitals in the last 10 years. Additional pressures created by a surge in emergency admissions before Christmas and the general effects of the cold weather exacerbated the problems.

On 21 December, 6 patients were treated for fractures in the Royal Victoria Hospital. The average time waited by these patients was 4.6 days. On 11 January, 5 fracture patients were treated in the Royal with an average waiting time of 5 days.

I am determined to ensure that patients admitted to hospital with fractures receive the treatment that they require as soon as possible and certainly no later than the 2 days laid down by current clinical standards and I have taken appropriate steps to achieve this.

Beef Exports

Mr. Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will make a statement on the level of beef exports from Northern Ireland. [64857]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The Government are pleased to record that regular weekly exports from Northern Ireland under the Export Certified Herds Scheme started in September 1998. The quantities involved have been small, averaging around 20 tonnes per week involving 7 European Countries. The Republic of South Africa (RSA) have also recently confirmed their willingness to take NI beef again although exports to South Africa have not yet started.


Inward Investment

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on his action to promote inward investment to Scotland; and if he must seek the approval of the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry before making any offer to a potential investor. [66135]

Mr. Dewar [holding answer 18 January 1999]: Locate in Scotland promotes Scotland's advantages as a business location, working in partnership with the Local Enterprise Companies, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and other bodies in both the public and private sectors. Its resources are targeted on those markets which generate the strongest flows of outward investment and where Scotland's competitive strengths make it an attractive location.

Offers of assistance are subject to inter-Departmentally agreed rules designed to ensure appropriate co-ordination of assistance offered across the UK. These rules are

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currently being revised to reflect the devolution settlements and the revised arrangements will be set out in a concordat on financial assistance to industry, which we hope to publish in due course.

Sewage Sludge Recycling

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to the letter of 30 September 1998 from the Minister with responsibility for agriculture, the environment and fisheries to the hon. Member for Linlithgow, if he will make a statement on the outcome of his talks with the water industry and the British Retailers Consortium on the recycling of sewage sludge on farmland. [65399]

Mr. Macdonald: The talks were between the water industry and the British Retail Consortium. The talks resulted in an agreement on the recycling of sewage sludge to farmland. This included ending the application of untreated sewage sludge to grass for silage and grazing by the end of 1998. It also included the phasing out of the application of all untreated sludge to agricultural land by the end of 2001. The Government have already announced they will amend the relevant regulations and code of practice to enforce the 2001 deadline.

Urban Waste Water Treatment

Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will announce the date by which secondary treatment of waste water and sewage will be required under the terms of the European Union's Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive; and if he will make a statement. [66350]

Mr. Macdonald: The Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive and our own Regulations require secondary treatment to be applied for discharges to normal waters (i.e. those not designated as sensitive or less sensitive) from communities with population equivalents above 15,000 by the end of 2000. The same standard of treatment must be applied to discharges from smaller communities by the end of 2005.

Compliance with the Directive is a major initiative for the Scottish Water Authorities who will be undertaking capital investment programmes costing £1.5 billion, over the next three years, to modernise the water and sewage industry.

Skye Bridge

Mr. Alasdair Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when the Scottish Office Development Department post-project evaluation of the socio-economic impact of the Skye Bridge is expected to be completed; and if he will place a copy in the Library. [66265]

Mr. Macdonald: This evaluation is due to be completed by the end of February 1999. A copy of the Final Report will be placed in the Members' Library.

Employment (Agriculture)

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list for each year since 1974 the

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number of people in Scotland employed in (a) agriculture and (b) ancillary trades dependent on agriculture broken down by region. [66604]

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Mr. Dewar: The available information is given in the table. Due to reclassification of minor holdings in the Agricultural Census, consistent information is available only from 1976.

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Agricultural workers on main and minor agricultural holdings

Number Full-time equivalents(8) Estimated number of ancillary jobs dependent on agriculture in Scotland (9)
YearScotlandNorth westNorth eastSouth eastSouth westScotlandNorth westNorth eastSouth eastSouth west(Ftes)

(8) Part-time workers estimated as 0.5 full-time equivalents

(9) Estimates of jobs in ancillary trades dependent on agriculture is derived from the Type 1 multipliers from the periodic Scottish Input Output Tables. This is available only for Scotland as a whole.

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